Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013 - (Page 51)

ASSESSMENT CENTRE OF ATTENTION O nce you have submitted the application form, taken online tests and attended a first-round interview, you may find yourself facing the assessment centre (although not all jobs will require this of course). And whilst it may feel like the final round, considerable preparation is still required: there are various activities that you will need to complete to successfully gain a place on your desired career path. The key with assessment centres is to really step into the shoes of an employee and believe that you are already working at the company. This will help you to make decisions during the exercises with a more practical frame of mind. The exercises are usually based on a real company, so bringing in your own knowledge (e.g. from the news) will definitely help. No previous knowledge of the business is assumed, so a large part of the process is adapting to the circumstances presented to you. Taking To Task So, what exactly can you expect during an assessment centre? Well, one traditional activity is a group exercise. Here, you are presented with a business case, which you have to prepare and discuss with other candidates. The key qualities employers are looking for are teamwork, leadership, as well as organisational skills when dividing up the roles and responsibilities. This is a difficult activity since you need to strike a balance between making sure your opinions are heard in the group and dominating the conversation too much. The latter will reflect badly on you – and could hinder your chances – since listening to other people’s views is one of the key things that you will need to do when working on projects in the office. Another fairly typical activity is an in-tray or e-tray exercise. This simulates a business environment, where you are sent various emails and then have to respond to them in an appropriate manner. One of the Make sure there are g no careless spellin errors, as no spell check is usually available main competencies tested here are organisational skills, since you need to prioritise emails to see which ones are more important and require a rapid response. This is just like in the office, when emails from clients or your superiors need to be answered efficiently. Remember: you need to be accurate and use appropriate language when typing the emails. For example, don’t use slang or shorthand and make sure there are no careless spelling errors, as spell check is not usually available! This exercise will inevitably feel time-pressured, but you need to remain calm and answer the emails in a logical way to prove that you have a cool head when things get chaotic. The final hurdle You may be wondering why assessment centres often last a full day. This is because in addition to the activities mentioned above, you may be required to have a final interview and presentation. The presentation could, for example, be based on a company of your choice. It is important to choose a company that you have quite a lot of knowledge about and one which you can answer follow-up questions on. Some people try not to select a company that has regularly featured in the press, but in the end it is up to you. If you do sufficient research and produce good quality presentation slides, then there is no reason why you can’t succeed. Still, the interviewer can immediately see if you have not prepared enough material, so make sure you do several practice runs before the real thing. The presentation is in effect a starting point for discussions with the interviewer, which could take the shape of questions about the industry and economic climate in general. Overall, the best way to look at assessment centres is as a final challenge. The key points are to be fully prepared, make sure you demonstrate the core competencies (leadership, teamwork and organisational skills) and stay calm on the day. Finally, remember that you have done well to get through the various stages of the application process so far, so there is no reason why you can’t go one step further and secure the job that you really deserve! WORDS: Arnab Datta | PICTURES: Shutterstock Assessment centres can prove a daunting prospect, but with potential activities in mind and a can-do attitude, you're already half way to success 051

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013

Ed's letter
Meet Hilary
Dress for success
Bags of style
Onwards and upwards
The path to enlightenment
On the job
Under operation
Under assessment
Question time
Rising up the ranks
Law and order
Make your search social
On the books
Getting graphic
Sowing the seeds
Making contact
On the move
Going green
Get the cogs turning
Building it up
On the factory floor
Engineering change
Take it up a gear
A rainy-day career
Bank on it
Full house
Talk shop
A clean slate
Hungry work
Quench your thirst
At your leisure
All's fair and square
Head in the clouds
Online round-up
Jobs & Careers - East Midlands
Jobs & Careers - North West
Jobs & Careers - South East
Jobs & Careers - South East
Jobs & Careers - South West

Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013